The Faroe Islands: 3 Photographs

Gjógv

Gjógv is a village located on the northeast tip of the island of Eysturoy, in the Faroe Islands and 63 km (39 mi) north by road from the capital of Tórshavn. The village was named after a 200-metre (650 ft) long sea-filled gorge that runs north to the sea from the village. You can see the gorge on this photograph. And even though the weather wasn’t all that I still decided to go up on the hill that overlooks the town. I slid down and fell on my face a few times, but that did not stop me from enjoying this amazing view.

 Gjógv, I got dirty and soaking wet, slipped and fell on my face a few times. But I just had to get up here to take this shot.

Gjógv, I got dirty and soaking wet, slipped and fell on my face a few times. But I just had to get up here to take this shot.

Kópakonan

The legend of Kópakonan (the Seal Woman) is one of the best-known folktales in the Faroe Islands. Seals were believed to be former human beings who voluntarily sought death in the ocean. Once a year, on the Thirteenth night, they were allowed to come on land, strip off their skins and amuse themselves as human beings, dancing and enjoying themselves.
More about the saga right here: Visit Faroe Islands

 Kópakonan (Seal Woman)

Kópakonan (Seal Woman)

Leirvík

Leirvík is a town you will pass when driving from Torshavn to Klaksvik. You will pass through it just before the tunnel to Klaksvik. I parked the car in the town and walked up this little hill beside the village to get this overview photograph. Beautiful and calm area. The views to the fjord are so amazing. For sure well worth spending some time here, taking in the genuine Faroese town life, and enjoy the views. Little (not so fun) fact about Leirvík: It is said that all inhabitants died in 1349 because of the Black Death.

 Leirvík

Leirvík

Drangey Guesthouse

For my recent trip to Iceland, which was a business trip really (shooting a film festival in the Westfjords) I was looking to add some extra time to go and discover some ares in the country that I hadn’t visited before. This would be a large part of Northern Iceland. So in my efforts to plan a few extra days I stumbled upon this guesthouse in Sauðárkrókur. So I got in touch with Ólina, worked out a few dates with here where I was going to be staying over, (agreed on me taking some photographs, a video and doing a little interview) and off I went. Packed and ready to go to Iceland. To visit the Westfjords. But adding a few days staying over in Drangey Guesthouse. And it was the best thing ever, let me tell you about it.

After a long day of driving and arriving late in the evening I checked in to the guesthouse. Let me tell you, a warm shower, cup of coffee and a decent relaxing and comfortable bed is so so good after driving 8+ hours on windy, rainy Icelandic roads. I felt like coming home. The next day I personally met Ólina, Þorgerður Eva and Jóhanna. It was easy to see that these ladies really put their heart and soul into running this place. It totally breathes kindness, hospitality and most of all it has this “at home” feeling. It has been so nice staying in Drangey Guesthouse, really a nice place to come to senses, relax and a good nights rest, after all the impressions that Iceland has to offer. Ólina, Þorgerður Eva and Jóhanna were super easy going, very friendly and much fun to talk too. The area surrounding the guesthouse is amazing, and has so much to offer. But Ólina will give you more information on that in the interview below.

I would highly recommend staying in this beautiful guesthouse, run by lovely hosts. Honestly there is not much else to add, go and experience it for yourself. Go to Sauðárkrókur, meet these ladies, stay in the cozy and comfortable guesthouse, and experience amazing Iceland the way it should be. Stress free and with a good experience in a nice place to stay. Again, adding these few dates to stay here was a very very wise decision. I will be back for sure.

These are images taken on the street where Drangey Guesthouse is located, and in Sauðárkrókur and the area surrounding the town. The island in the ocean is “Drangey Island”

Interview with Ólina, owner of Drangey Guesthouse

1. First of all thanks for having me, can you tell us a little bit more about you, and the people behind Drangey guesthouse?

Thank you. My name is Ólína Björk Hjartardóttir. I‘m an Esthetician and opened my own beauty salon and gift shop Eftirlæti (Your favorite) in 2012 on the ground floor at the same house as the Guesthouse. I have a husband and two girls born 2012 and 2014. I started Drangey guesthouse with Jóhanna, we are both born and raised here and know the town and the people here well. Jóhanna is a Fashion Designer and at a time she had her workspace at my salon. Jóhanna and I bought the apartment above the beauty salon and turned it into a guesthouse in 2017. After the summer of 2018 Jóhanna quit and I bought her shares in the company. I have one employee, Þorgerður Eva, here at the guesthouse who is also an Esthetician at my saloon. I can‘t have better employee than her she is the best.

2. Tell us some more about the Guesthouse, the building, the way you started it, its name and its history.

Drangey guesthouse came to life in 2017 after me and Jóhanna have talked about it since early 2016. I´ve always wanted to own the whole house that my salon was in and do something fun with the idea of having many small businesses in the same building working together. The house is built in 1946 as an apartment upstairs and an shop on the ground floor called Verslunin Drangey (The shop Drangey), named after the island Drangey. That is the reason for the name of Drangey guesthouse, we wanted to bring the old name of this house back alive. Some older people who remembers the shop Drangey tell us that they are so happy to see the name again at this house, Then I know the idea was success. At the guesthouse I have old pictures of the town and of the house when other businesses were here. I‘m really fond of history and like having some of the old in with the new. There is 4 bedrooms at the guesthouse all with special names from places on Drangey island. First one is called Lambhöfði, a place were sheep stayed on the island from farmers in Skagafjörður. The second one is called Heiðnaberg, where the one place on the island that is not blessed, so they say. The third one is called Hæringshlaup where a man called Hæringur was running from a man and fell off the cliff. The last one is called Grettisbæli and that is the place where Grettir the outlaw lived. There is really good shared kitchen and a dining table for our guests to use and a small bathroom with a shower.

3. What is the nicest part of running a guesthouse to you? Any particular experiences to share?

The nicest part is giving people a nice stay here in Sauðárkrókur so they can explore the town and have a nice time. It‘s fun to see the different cultures that come to this small town in north Iceland. When a traveler comes tired after bicycling around the country and we have available room for him, then I feel how important it is to have a good guesthouse.

4. What are the most famous, and forgotten activities to do in and around Sauðárkrókur?

I think the mountain sight here in Skagafjörður, all around Sauðárkrókur, the most beautiful sight to see when you are walking around the town. There are many walking roads on the mountains that are forgotten. Litli-Skógur is a beautiful small forest, if you can call it a forest haha, that you can walk through and have a picnic. There is a great museum about puffins that is called Puffin and friends, it is a must see. You can travel to Drangey the island with Drangeyjar ferðir (Drangey tours) it is an amazing experience. We have the only tannery in Iceland here in Sauðárkrókur and you can visit it and see what they do there in Tannery visitor center. We have the best bakery in Iceland just across the street from the guesthouse, it´s a handcraft family bakery that you must try.

5. Where can we find and book with you, are you on social media, a website?

You can book a room or the whole apartment through us at our facebook page or call us. We are also on booking.com but there is only the rooms you can book there because it´s limited what we can offer at booking.com. We don´t have a website now but we hope we do in the future.

6. Thank you very much, anything to add? Something you want to share?

Thank you so much to, it´s really nice sharing all of this with you. I think Skagafjörður is really beautiful place, there are so many different things you can see. I would recommend staying in north west of Iceland in a few days and take time to see all the small towns, the countryside and the nature. I´ve lived here almost my 30 years and am always finding something new and old that I haven´t seen. This is a historical place for Iceland. Iceland has a big swimming pool culture and you can find geothermal swimming pools in almost every town in Iceland with hot tubs and ice tubs. I recommend to try out this swimming pools and natural hot springs. There are at least 6 swimming pools or hot springs only in Skagafjörður alone that you can visit.

Here’s a few more shots showing you the accommodation, very clean, and so cozy!

Check out this video that I made at Drangey Guesthouse

Iceland: Gaukshöfði, Vik, Laxa i Kjos, Strandarkirkja

In this blog post I will share 4 images, of 4 amazing locations in Iceland. Some well known and "touristy" others a little more undiscovered.

Gaukshöfði

A small detour from the Rte 32, a steep climb up the rocky cliffs — and you’re rewarded with fabulous views over the wide aquamarine Þjorsá river. In the distance is the low mound of Hekla volcano.The overlook point, with narrow trails on two rocky hills, perhaps 300 feet tall, is named for Gaukur, a 10th century resident of nearby Stong, a viking longhouse. The stories say he was murdered by his foster brother. Bones and weapons were found at the base of the cliffs, which everyone assumed must belong to the combatants.

Gaukshöfði

Vik

Iceland has several volcanic beaches along its coastlines, but Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is by far the coolest and most famous on the island. It is easily accessible from the main road running through Vík í Mýrdal and taking a walk on the black sand beach is a must. Together With basalt columns, unique lava formations, towering cliffs, and caves the area is a nature lovers delight. 

Vik

Laxa i Kjos

The Laxa i Kjos is the centrepiece of one of the most stunning glacially forged valleys in Southern Iceland.  A narrow upper canyon splays into a gentle, peaceful, arable valley before cascading down the final falls and pools into the sea.  This exceptional river and its beautiful tributary can be reached within an hour’s drive from Reykjavik.

Laxa i Kjos

Strandarkirkja

Strandarkirkja is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Selvogur, on the southern coast of Iceland. The church, rising from the coast and pointing its tower towards the heavens, has been a beacon for those travelling at sea. It has more supporters all over the world than any other church in Iceland and is often referred to as the 'miracle church' with the locals' longstanding belief that it has profound, divine powers. Many miracles have been attributed to Strandarkirkja and there was a time when it was one of the richest churches in Iceland from the donations of Icelanders coming from all over the country in hopes of having their prayers and wishes realized.

Strandarkirkja

Kerið

Kerið is a volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area in south Iceland, along the Golden Circle. It is one of several crater lakes in the area, known as Iceland's Western Volcanic Zone, which includes the Reykjanes peninsula and the Langjökull Glacier, created as the land moved over a localized hotspot, but it is the one that has the most visually recognizable caldera still intact. The caldera, like the other volcanic rock in the area, is composed of a red (rather than black) volcanic rock. The caldera itself is approximately 55 m (180 ft) deep, 170 m (560 ft) wide, and 270 m (890 ft) across. Kerið’s caldera is one of the three most recognizable volcanic craters because at approximately 3,000 years old, it is only half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features. The other two are Seyðishólar and Kerhóll.

 Kerið

Kerið

Wedding Photography in Iceland

If you follow me on social media and check this site every now and then you've probably seen that I have been to Iceland yet again recently. This time I was shooting wedding photographs for this lovely American couple. It was one of the best trips and experiences I've ever had. Hanging out with this amazing couple in these breathtaking locations just was something else. I loved every second of it. To add to that, shooting their wedding photographs really made this something very special and unforgettable. Have a look at some of the photographs from this trip. 

DSC_8600.jpg

Here's what the couple wrote about the experience with me after the trip:

One of the important things for my then fiancé and I was having some amazing photos at our favorite travel destination, Iceland. We had booked our honeymoon there and thought that this was the perfect opportunity. We had no idea where to start looking for a photographer but I made a facebook post on Iceland the Photographer’s Paradise facebook group. We received an overwhelming amount of responses and sifted through many portfolios but from the very beginning Arjan’s work really stood out. We loved his landscape photography and more importantly how incredibly nice he was to work with. Even before we made a commitment to work with him, he sent us a map with over 40 locations throughout Iceland he thought would be perfect for us to shoot in and committed a lot of time on communicating with us despite a significant time zone difference. We were hesitant at first because as skeptical people we were scared to meet a complete stranger in a different country and this was further complicated by how uncomfortable we are being photographed, evidenced by maybe 1 good photos of us together in the 6 years we have been together. Arjan could not have been more understanding, accommodating, and a pleasure to work with, oh and he brought us Dutch cookies to congratulate us on our recent wedding. Meeting him in person in Iceland and spending two full days with him driving around the country was a lot of fun. He made us feel very comfortable, ran around everywhere trying to capture the perfect shot, was willing to stop at any location we wanted to randomly, and he shooed away all the other tourists getting in our shot at the black beach while carrying my jacket on his head. The best part – the incredible photos he was able to take that we will cherish for a long time to come. We could not be happier with our experience and could not recommend Arjan enough.

Here's a few more shots from the amazing time I got to spend with these amazing people in Iceland

Jökulsárlón, Iceland

So, I just came back earlier this week from another trip to Iceland. I was booked to shoot some wedding portraits on Iceland's south coast. There will be a separate blog post containing some images from shooting with this amazing couple sometime soon. 

I will start sharing some images that I took during my time in Iceland. It has, as always been amazing again!

Another and probably one of the most visited/photographed locations in Iceland. The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

But you can clearly see why. It is so beautiful! It feels like being on another planet when you stand at the lagoon, watching over these floating pieces of icy art.